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The World’s 21 Best Active Holidays for 2020

21 Best active holidays

Sure, lying by the pool all day is great, but what if you could accomplish something extraordinary on your next week off work? Active holidays combine your favourite elements of your usual holiday; sun, sea and sand, with adventures you thought you could only dream of.

There are active holidays for every level of fitness, expertise and even age. Adventure is subjective; whether that be scaling Kilimanjaro or touring the Isle of Man on a motorbike, there is something to appeal to everyone..

Whether you’re looking for active holidays for couples, solo-travellers or families, we’ve made your job easier and done the research for you.

OriGym have collated a list of the 21 best active holidays in Europe and beyond to exceed your desires and start the ball rolling on a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you will never forget.

Before we get stuck in, why not take the first steps towards an exciting new career by enquiring about our Level 3 personal training qualificationAlternatively, download the full OriGym course prospectus now. 

Also, feel free to download our FREE 16 Week Home Strength Training Programme before jumping in:

#1 - Climb Kilimanjaro 

Kilimanjaro Single person active holidays

One on most thrill seekers bucket list; this is for those searching for once-in-a-lifetime active adventure holidays .

Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa, and stands over 19,000 feet above sea level. It’s also the tallest single free-standing mountain in the world. So, with all that in mind, how about having a go at undertaking the ultimate challenge and climbing it next time you’re on your holidays? 

The climb usually takes between five to nine days to complete, and there are plenty of travel companies that will take you and other avid climbers up to the summit of the mountain. There are numerous routes to take, but the one that seems to be most recommended is the Rongai Route, located on the northern side of the peak, which is the lesser used trail to the top. 

The tour would take around 8 days to complete, and would see you travel through the Rungai forest, the Kikelewa Caves, across lunar deserts and the Kibo volcano, before finally reaching the summit of Kilimanjaro itself and watching a stunning sunrise over the Kenyan plains. 

As active holidays abroad go, they don’t get more challenging than this one, but the general consensus is that it would also be one of the most rewarding too. Plus, you’d be able to tell all your friends at home that you scaled Mount Kilimanjaro, and who wouldn’t want to be able to do that? 

This is well worth checking out if you’re looking for active adventure holidays where you’ll be in for the challenge of a lifetime. 

#2 - Cycling in the Dolomites

Dolomites Active leisure holidays

Searching for active holidays in Europe that can accommodate your passion for cycling, look no further as we’ve got you covered.

If you’re a cyclist then you’ll surely have heard of the Dolomites route in Italy. The 32 mile (52km) journey hardly has any flat stretches, meaning it won’t take you long to get an incredibly good workout. 

The Dolomites mountains are part of the Southern Limestone Alps and are spread out across three Italian provinces, those being Belluno, South Tyrol, and Trentino. There are an array of steep climbs and long, freewheeling opportunities down huge slopes, making sure that your journey through these Italian mountains will never be boring. And even if you’re not a fan of cycling uphill, we’re sure it’ll all be worth it when you get to see the views once you reach the top of a particularly tricky climb. 

For the maximum experience, you should  be conscious of what you’re feeding your body with, not only whilst you’re riding around the dolomites, but in the weeks leading up to it also. Origym have created a cycling nutrition plan that equips you with the best foods to fuel your rudes, as well as a great deal of cycling nutrition tips too!

The best time to undertake active holidays in Italy is between the months of May and October, when the weather is at its best, and where there are lower levels of precipitation than in other areas of the Alps. 

As for accommodation, because you’d be cycling through the Alps, there will be more than enough ski resorts, velo-friendly hotels and places to stay during your adventure through Italy. Definitely one of the best active holidays in Italy that you should consider if you’re a fan of cycling. 

#3 - Sea Kayaking in Greece 

Greece Ionian Sea Best active holidays europe

If you’re shopping for the best active holidays in greece, we’ve got just the one for you.

Greece is a country that boasts over 15,000km of coastline, making it a great destination for water lovers looking for active beach holidays in Europe. 

Over 3,000 islands form Greece, making it a perfect terrain for the best active holidays abroad involving kayaking. The Ionian sea is generally the calmest sea in Greece, and the thousands of islands and islets offer a variety of possibilities and places for you to explore, like coastal paddling, sea cave exploration and much, much more. 

There’s a wide variety of sea kayaking tours that you can take part in and around the Ionian sea, such as this one, that takes place over 9 days, and see’s you travel 57 nautical miles. During the tour you’ll visit some of the most picture postcard beautiful villages the Ionian has to offer, and stay in the best accommodation available in each one. 

However, you don’t have to commit to a 9 day kayaking adventure if you don’t want to. If you’d rather just head out for the day onto the Ionian sea on your own then there’s plenty of companies that will allow you to do just that. 

Unlike other sporting trips, this is a great option for those looking for active family holidays abroad, as many of the tours and trips cater for the needs of the little ones.

With so much to see, so many picturesque villages to visit and so many islands to explore, kayaking in the Ionian Sea is perfect for anyone seeking active holidays in Greece, or simply anyone who enjoys being out on the waves in a kayak! 

#4 - National Three Peaks Challenge

National Three Peaks Challenge Uk active holidays

If you’re looking for challenging active family holidays in the UK, then how about trying to complete the Three Peaks Challenge? 

For those who don’t know, the aim of the Three Peak Challenge is to climb the three highest peaks of Scotland, England, and Wales over a short period of time. Those peaks are Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon respectively. 

The total walking distance of the challenge is 23 miles, and the total ascent is 3,064 meters (10,052ft). There are numerous ways to take part in the challenge, with some people doing it all in under 24 hours, but the one we’d recommend is this partaking in an assisted tour, where the climbing is spread out over 5 days, with rest days in-between ascending each peak. There is also transport to each mountain, as well as accommodation in each peak’s respective area, meaning you can turn the challenge into more of a holiday if you wanted to.

However, you’re not obliged to book with a company to take part in this challenge if you don’t wish to, however, it is a great option for those looking for active holidays for singles. Instead, you can simply commit to the challenge alone, which will work out to be a lot cheaper for you. 

To get the most out of the experience, you should ensure that you’re regularly fueling your body and providing it with the nutrients it needs to stay strong. One of the easiest ways to do that is via energy bars. We have created a list of the best energy bars that will see you through this 23 mile challenge.

Most importantly though, the Three Peaks Challenge can be a great option for active holidays for families, which is always a bonus. So if you’re looking for cheap active holidays in the UK where the whole family can come along, then this is definitely one that should be considered! 

#5 - Skiing in France 

France skiing active holidays in europe

There is no doubt that France has long been a favourite for lovers of active holidays, so it comes as no surprise it makes our shortlist for the best active holidays in Europe and  beyond. 

The majority of resorts on the French Alps are very easy to get to and take up less than half a day of travelling, ensuring you savour as much time for the slopes.

There are a wide variety of locations you can go and stay during your time skiing in the French Alps, with hundreds of hotels, chalet’s, and apartments dotted across the mountains. France is home to an excellent variety of ski resorts that will cater to anyone and everyone. 

We advise that the best time to go skiing on the French Alps is during the spring months, as you’ll have more daylight hours and the weather will be warmer. 

The best thing about active european holidays that incorporate skiing into your stay is that it can be whatever type of holiday you want it to be. It’s a perfect place to go if you’re looking for active family holidays in Europe, or if you’re a couple who just want to do a bit of skiing and have a party up in the Alps. Or, if you’re an avid skier who wants to challenge themselves on the snowy mountains of France, then there are more than enough high altitude resorts with glaciers that will suit you down to the ground.

One of the top ways snow sports enthusiasts keep fit and best prepare before going on a ski trip is to practise on the dry slopes at home. Origym has compiled a list of the best skiing centres and dry slopes the UK has to offer so you’re on your best form as you glide down that first slope.

Whether you’re looking for active holidays for solo travellers, families or couples, this is a destination that will tick all of your boxes.

#6 - Adventure in The Azores 

Azores active adventure holidays

Active holidays in Europe have seen a dramatic rise in popularity over recent years and this thrill-seekers adventure is another to add to your list.

São Miguel is the largest island in the Portuguese Azores archipelago, and is also home to what could be the most action-packed adrenaline ride of a holiday on this list. 

Known for its volcanic scenery, São Miguel is home to a huge number of canyons that you can abseil, jump and swim down as much as you want! Never dived down a waterfall before? How about trying it here? 

But there’s more to the Azores adventure than just rock climbing and swimming. You can also try your hand at mountain biking through the thick pine forests, or paddle boarding in one of the twin lakes in the crater of an ancient volcano! 

However, it’s not all hard work. You can just as easily go on a hike around one of the numerous islands in the Azores archipelago, as-well swim with dolphins and go whale watching - this was an easy choice when it comes to the best active holidays in Europe.

The weather in the Azores is warm all year round, which is perfect for anyone looking for active holidays in the sun, whilst the wide range of activities available is ideal for anyone looking to challenge themselves or experience a different adventure every single day. 

#7 - Snorkeling in Croatia

Active holidays in croatia

If you’re looking for cheap active holidays, why not give snorkelling in Croatia a go? 

Bordering the Adriatic Sea, Croatia is known for its stunning coastline, numerous islands and huge array of marine wildlife, so it’s definitely no surprise that the country is seen as one of the best places to go for your snorkelling holidays. 

Active holidays in Croatia have significantly grown in popularity over the years. If your idea of a fun holiday is spending most of the time in the water, then snorkelling in Croatia should definitely be at the top of your wish list! It doesn’t matter where you stay, whether it’s along the coast or on one of the many islands nearby, you’re guaranteed an excellent snorkelling experience! 

What’s more, this is a great option for those looking for active family holidays in Europe, as snorkelling is an activity that is inclusive to all.

As well as the impressive array of underwater creatures and coral, if you head over to the Brijuni National Park, you might get a glimpse of some ancient Roman ruins that now reside under the sea. Or, you can travel over to the Pakleni Islands, where you can go and snorkel in some of the many underwater caves there. 

Some of the best things about snorkelling on active holidays in Croatia is that it’s incredibly easy to do, it’s very cheap, and it’s a top choice for people who’s summer revolves around active family holidays abroad. The waters of the Adriatic Sea are safe and clean, and there’s plenty of islands and underwater caves to explore, meaning you won’t be getting bored anytime soon! 

We usually advocate individuality, however, when it comes to active holidays in croatia, we would strongly recommend jumping on the bandwagon and booking one ASAP.

#8 - Ranch Holiday in the USA

active holidays for singles USA

Have you ever wanted to be a cowboy? Well, now you can, with this unique experience on a ranch in the US of A, where you’ll be camping under the stars in the Wild West, on what we are sure will be a great family adventure. 

Venturing outside of Europe, this is a great option for those looking to step outside of their comfort zone seeking active holidays for solo travellers.

If you’re interested in experiencing a piece of old American Wild West culture, just like in the movies, then this could be the holiday for you. Out in the canyonlands, you’ll learn to ride a horse just like the cowboys of old, and trek through the mountains, deserts and plains of America’s south west. 

To add to this, you can choose to join in and participate in working on the ranch too, where you’ll help drive the cattle and tend to the land, thus ensuring that your holiday won’t all be made up of relaxing and sitting around. 

But it won’t be all hard work either. You can also go swimming and hiking along the mountains too, giving you a wide variety of activities to do on your ranch holiday. 

This is a one of a kind experience that adds a whole new meaning to active summer holidays.

#9 - Trek the Inca Trail 

Inca Trail active family holidays

You’re looking for something a little different and you’ve decided to do some research on active holidays abroad; how about considering trekking the Inca Trail in the Andes Mountain range of Peru, South America? 

It’s no surprise that going to Machu Picchu is always high on people’s bucket lists, so if it's also on yours, then this could be the holiday for you. The ancient Incan citadel is set high in the Andes, standing at some 7,970 feet in the sky. The trek to reach it is an adventure in itself too, taking up to 4 days to complete. During those 4 days you’ll be hiking at altitudes of over 13,000 feet, so this isn’t one for those who aren’t big fans of heights. 

The trek itself isn’t as long as you’d think, with the summit of the Incan city only being 25 miles away from the bottom, but most of that 25 miles is up steep, narrow mountain paths at high altitudes. Before you jet off, be sure to check out our guide on the best trekking poles to ensure you’re fully prepared for that lengthy trek.

If you don’t fancy taking on the trail alone or with your small group, then you can book a guide, who’ll take you to the summit within 4 days; with bonus pit stops to go paddle-boarding and zip-lining along the way - not all active leisure holidays have to be mentally and physically challenging.

There is no right or wrong time of the year to hike the Inca trail. Whilst hiking it during the warmer months is ideal if you don’t want to be hiking in the rain, it will also be a lot busier, so you’ll have to choose when you undertake the walk carefully.  

If you’re looking for challenging active holidays in the sun, they don’t get much more challenging than this one. However, it’ll all be worth it when you reach the summit, and can finally tick visiting one of the seven new wonders of the world off of your bucket list. 

#10 - Great Wall of China Marathon 

great wall of china active summer holidays

Yes, you could quite easily walk the Great Wall of China if you wanted to, but have you ever considered pushing yourself to the limit and running the Great Wall of China Marathon? 

This marathon is considered to be one of the worlds most difficult marathons and is described as being one of the most demanding challenges of your life. Since the marathon's conception in 1999, it has seen become a sellout event, and has seen over 2,500 runners from over 60 different countries undertake it; making this, in our opinion, one of the best places for active holidays in the world.

The demanding course includes 5,164 steps that you have to climb, and there’s 3 different marathon options to choose from. You can take part in either the full marathon, which is 26.2 miles, the half marathon, which is 13.1 miles, or the fun-run, which is a non competitive run along the wall at a distance of 5.5 miles. 

If you’re going to be undertaking this mammoth task, you need to be in pretty good shape for it, as you’ll encounter a whole load of challenges along the way. Whilst some of the wall has been restored, most of it is still in its original state and ruined, meaning you could encounter loose stones, missing steps and crumbling walls, but honestly, that just makes it that little bit more exciting. 

If this is your first marathon event, make sure you give our complete beginners guide on how to train for a marathon a read in advance.

Taking part in the Great Wall marathon is perfect for those searching for active holidays for singles, where you’ll be pushed to the very limit. The record for the course is 3:09:18, so get training!.

#11 - Kayaking in Thailand 

thailand Active leisure holidays

Deemed one of the best places for active holidays, Thailand is a must on any adventurer's bucket list.

Another one to check out if you’re a fan of being out on the water, kayaking in Thailand is perfect for anyone looking for active holidays for couples where you can see stunning sights, and get a bit of exercise in there too. 

There are so many caves, lagoons and islands that are secluded and hidden away in Thailand that are just waiting to be discovered, which is a perfect reason to hop into a kayak and get paddling. Some of the more famous places to go kayaking in Thailand include the Phi Phi Islands, Phuket, Krabi, and Chiang Mai. 

You don’t have to be a water sport fanatic to enjoy kayaking in Thailand either. If you’re a nature lover, then this will be the perfect trip for you too, as on your tour of the countries hidden islands and secluded caves, you’ll be able to catch glimpses of some of the country’s most exotic wildlife, including tropical lizards, fruit bats and macaque monkeys. It’s recommended you travel to the Ao Phang Nga National Park to see these stunning sights. 

What’s more, Thailand is renowned for its beautiful scenery, so as well as covering the scope for adventurers, swimmers, kayakers and thrill seekers, it also has those looking for active beach holidays covered too.

One thing to remember when kayaking in Thailand however is not to head out there during monsoon season. You won’t get any water tours done in that weather, no matter how hard you try. But once the sea is calm and the weather is nice, you can go and paddle to your heart's content! 

Again, you don’t need to go into this trip blind, as there are many places in the UK that you can get your practice in before you land in Thailand and are left to your own devices. Find our guide for the best watersports providers in the UK with multiple mentions of where to best get equipped for your active adventure holidays.

#12 - Descending into Thrihnukagigur Volcano 

Thrihnukagigur Volcano best active adventure holidays

Have you ever wanted to stand in the crater of a dormant volcano? Well, now you can, with these hiking tours to Thrihnukagigur Volcano near Reykjavik, Iceland. Whilst it has been over 4,000 years since the volcano last erupted, tours are still announced on a year-by-year basis, so keep an eye out in case anything changes.

The tour to the crater of the ancient volcano lasts around 5 to 6 hours, and the hike up there is around a 2 mile walk, which usually takes just under an hour to complete. The hike is essential to the tour, not only because you’ll get to see breathtaking scenery, but because it’s the only other way, bar via helicopter, of actually getting to the crater. Plus, you’ll be walking across a lava field, and who would want to miss out on doing that? 

We’d probably recommend this is catered more towards those searching for active holidays for adults though, due to its extensive walking, steep climbing and overall risk.

Once at the crater, you are kitted up with harnesses and helmets, and take an open cable lift down into the heart of the volcano itself. After about an hour down there, you’ll take the cable lift back up and hike back down the volcano again. 

Whilst it won’t be the most challenging of the active leisure holidays on this list, the hike isn’t all easy going, with the final ten minutes or so of the height being quite challenging, with a climb to an elevation of around 150 feet. There is specific mention by companies organising the tours that this is not for those in ‘limited shape’, so consider yourself warned. 

This is perfect if you’re not wanting something overly challenging, but still looking for active holidays abroad that won’t be spent lounging about in the sun all day long. 

#13 - Cycling the Balkans 

Cycling the Balkans Best places for active holidays

This is another must if your idea of fun is cycling along scenic routes and pushing yourself to reach new limits, which is something that cycling through the Balkans in Southeast Europe would definitely do. 

Appealing to most, from those looking for single person active holidays, to adventurous families; this is a memorable trip that caters for all.

The Balkans is a peninsula that stretches from the Serbian-Bulgarian border, through the whole of Bulgaria itself and ends at the coast of the Black Sea, and by the end of your cycle you could potentially have covered a distance of over 100 miles. There are so many routes and tours to choose from that no two journeys will be the same. 

A popular option for those participating in this activity is the route that will see you travel through 12 different countries along the way, including Turkey, Greece, and Romania, or you can even choose an even longer path that will see you pass through multiple capital cities and world heritage sights. 

Even for the experts, cycling can be an uncomfortable sport, so don’t forget to kit yourself out with specialised cycling gear to guarantee the most pleasant experience possible. Have a look at our guide for the best cycling jackets for both men and women.

Whatever route you choose, one thing for sure. You’ll most certainly be in for the journey of a lifetime, and get to see sights and cities that you perhaps otherwise wouldn’t see, all whilst on your bike! So if you’re looking for cheap active holidays in Europe, or just a tour of Europe itself without having to worry about fuel, then this is most definitely the one for you! 

#14 - Algarve Coastal Expeditions 

Algarve Coastal Expeditions active holidays abroad

Favoured as one of the best destinations for active beach holidays in europe is this exciting adventure in Portugal.

Try your hand at coasteering in the Algarve with this adventure on the Portuguese south coast, which is perfect for anyone shopping for active holidays in the sun. 

Lying between Sagres and Lagos, the natural park, Costa Vicentina is a great place to go if you enjoy rock climbing, jumping from cliffs into crystal blue waters, or exploring secluded beaches and secret sea caves! 

With this particular activity, you can either book tours that will take you along the coast of the Algarve, or you can nab yourself a kayak or paddle board and go and explore the natural beauty yourself! However, if you do book a tour, a spot of snorkelling can be thrown in too, where you’ll be kitted out with all the necessary gear. After you’ve been given the relevant safety briefings you can just dive in and get exploring! 

As mentioned, there are plenty of different tours available to you to make your Algarve Coastal Expedition the best time possible. If you fancy going snorkelling and checking out the rich marine wildlife, then you can do just that, whilst if you’re more interested in kayaking into secret caves and scaling the cliffs, then there are options for you to do them too! 

This is a great choice for people searching for the best family active holidays where you can engage in exciting activities, whilst soaking up the sun on the beaches of the Portuguese south coast! 

#15 - Rafting the Grand Canyon 

Rafting the Grand Canyon active holidays in the sun

Of course, you could easily travel to the USA’s Grand Canyon by car or coach and take in the stunning views from up high, but if you’re after something that’ll get your adrenaline pumping, how about giving white water rafting the Grand Canyon a try instead? 

Another trip that we’d personally sway away from involving the little ones in and keep this for those looking for single person active holidays or for couples due to its risk factor.

On the Grand Canyon water rafting trips you’ll experience moments of thrill, moments of calmness and a feeling of being at one with nature. Rafting the Grand Canyon will give you views that you wouldn’t be able to get up in the air, and will add a whole load of excitement and hard work into your holiday too!

There are multiple companies who offer a multitude of different tours of the world famous Colorado Rapids, with some of the said tours lasting a day whilst others can end up lasting up to 3 weeks. Whichever tour you decide to do, you know for sure that you’re in for an adrenaline filled thrill ride down some of America’s most famous waters. 

Along with all this, some of the tour companies do offer helicopter tours and hikes, ranging from short easy walks to long, arduous, challenging ones. 

Rafting to the Grand Canyon is definitely up there with some of the best active adventure holidays available!

#16 - Snowdonia’s 14 Peak Challenge 

Snowdonia’s 14 Peak Challenge active holidays europe

If you’re looking for the best active holidays in the UK, or simply something that will challenge you a bit more than usual, then look no further than the Snowdonia 14 Peak Challenge, where you’ll be hiking the highest and toughest peaks in Wales. 

The 14 peaks is a famous challenge that many people try to undertake in under 24 hours, however it doesn’t have to be a race if you don’t want it to be. You can tackle the 14 peaks at your own pace, stopping off along the way and turning it into a bit of a holiday, meaning this is even a great choice for people shopping for active holidays for over 50s. Even so, that doesn’t mean that the challenge is going to be any easy feat, no matter how fast or slow you take it. 

The whole route is just over 30 miles, and will see you traversing the 3 main mountain ranges, which are the Snowdonia Massif, the Glyderau, and the Carneddau, along the way. Summiting all of Snowdonia’s peaks, which are over 3000 feet, should take less than 24 hours, if you’re aiming to complete the challenge properly, although times will vary depending on the weather. The highest peak you’ll reach during the challenge is Snowdon itself at 1085 meters. 

It is crucial that you keep your body hydrated over the course of the challenge, and for that we strongly recommend investing in hydration tablets to fuel your body. You can find our top picks in our full hydration tablet guide.

The Snowdonia 14 Peak Challenge has been described as far more strenuous and to require more stamina than the National 3 Peak Challenge (#4 on this list), so if you’re going to do this, then you’re going to need to be a seasoned hiker. 

This is well worth giving a go if you’re seeking UK active holidays that keep you close to home.

#17 - Motorcycling on the Isle of Man 

Motorcycling on the Isle of Man active holidays in uk

Another trip for people looking for the best UK active holidays.

The Isle of Man is home to the annual Isle of Man TT races and Festivals of Motorcycling, so where better to find motorcycle filled active adventure holidays close to home? 

There are a plethora of various tours and motorcycling adventures available on the Isle of Man, with some even giving you the opportunity of actually riding on the courses that are used during the aforementioned Isle of Man TT races! 

The Isle of Man is made up of miles of roads through stunning locations, and you’ll be blown away by the scenery as you whizz past it. The opportunity to ride the 37 mile long TT mountain course also sounds like an opportunity that’s too good to miss too! 

If motorcycling is your thing, and you’re looking for active UK holidays for adults, then we’d highly recommend heading on over to the Isle of Man for a motorcycling adventure!

#18 - River Swimming in Oxford

River Swimming in Oxford Active uk holidays

Another one for those browsing for active holidays in the UK; this river swimming break in Oxford is an exciting challenge that will improve your swimming and give you an experience like no other. 

If you’ve never tried out open water swimming but want to give it a go, then river swimming is the perfect way for you to dip your toe into the sport. The clean, calm waters out in the countryside is the ideal start to your open water swimming adventure.

There are many companies in the area that offer one or two day swimming tours of the Thames as it snakes through the Oxford countryside, giving you the opportunity to experience the picturesque English countryside in a peaceful and unique way. 

The swim is around 10 miles long, spread across two days, with occasional pit-stops for food, refreshments and the chance to take a look at over 140 historic sights of special interest that you’ll pass along the way. Most companies advise that anyone who wants to take part in the tour must be a strong swimmer as they are expected to complete at least 6km of swimming every day, and should have a basic understanding of open water swimming.

If you’re interested in tracking your data and want the opportunity to analyse your distance, pace, and stroke rate afterwards, take a look at our guide of the best swimming trackers on the market.

This is highly recommended for anyone looking for active UK holidays for adults, where they can enjoy a relaxing swim through a peaceful part of the world, and anyone who is a fan of open water swimming and wants to experience something new.

#19 - Hiking the Madonie Mountains 

Hiking the Madonie Mountains Active family holidays abroad

Another holiday for the hikers and walkers, this is a top choice for people browsing for active summer holidays, as you’re sure to feel the full benefits of the Italian heat on this adventure.

The Madonie Mountains in Sicily, Italy, are well worth hiking if you want to catch a glimpse of the stunning views of the Mediterranean and of Sicily below. The Madonie mountains are described as one of the best-kept walking holidays in Italy, and lie in the shadow of one of the most famous peaks in Europe, Mount Etna. 

There are a few 8 day long tours that will take you all the way to the peak of the Madonie Mountains (and back down again), where you’ll be able to stop off in the numerous hillside villages dotted around the mountain, where time seems to have stood still. The range of mountains here are home to the next highest elevation in Sicily after Mount Etna, with the Madonie reaching a height of 6,493 feet. 

The walks can be quite tough going at times, so it’s best if you have some prior hiking experience under your belt, but you don’t need to be an expert to be able to enjoy the stunning views and villages that you’ll encounter along the way, making this suitable for those looking for either active holidays for adults or families. 

When engaging in the hike, you don’t want the added weight of a large rucksack holding you back; in OriGym’s guide for the best running backpacks, they include several options that would benefit those with an interest in hiking, also.

If you’re a fan of hiking and walking up mountains, then this is definitely one to add to your bucket list of future active holidays in Italy.

#20 - Surfing in Sri Lanka 

Surfing in Sri Lanka active summer holidays

Understandably, there are often certain age restrictions when it comes to watersporting holidays, however, you can rest easy knowing that we’ve found you one of the best family active holidays there is.

Whether you’re an expert in surfing, or you want to try it out for the first time, then surfing in Sri Lanka could well be the answer to your activity holidays search. 

Believe it or not, Sri Lanka is a famous surfing destination that welcomes any experience level, whether you’re a beginner to the sport, or a seasoned pro. Due to the differing seasonal patterns on either side of the island, Sri Lanka is a year round option for your surfing holidays. The best time to go on the East side of the island is during the months of April to October, whilst the best times to go on the West side are between November and May. 

Some of the best places to go to catch some waves are Hikkaduwa, which is a surfing party village, whilst somewhere like Unawatuna is popular with families, and is a great place for beginners to go, as is Weligama on the South Coast of the island. 

For you surfers out there, the waves in Sri Lanka aren’t like the huge ones you’re going to find in Australia or Hawaii, but they’re longer, with some waves on the East coast lasting for longer than a minute sometimes! 

Sri Lanka is a perfect place to go if you’re looking to embark on more active beach holidays with the family (or alone) to work on your surfing skills. 

#21 - Golfing in Portugal 

Golfing in Portugal Active family holidays in europe

And finally, one for those on the hunt for active holidays for over 50s, or anyone that likes golf for that matter, in the south of Portugal playing, you guessed it, golf. 

Known for its huge range of golf courses, The Algarve is a great location for those looking for active holidays in the sun, as there are plenty of new places to choose from and try out so every day is a different scene.

There’s a good reason why thousands of golfers head over to Portugal to play golf all year round, and that’s because the quality of golf championship in the country is unparalleled in Europe. Plus, who wouldn’t want to be stood in the Algarve with the Portuguese sun shining down on them as they play a sport that they love? 

But it’s not just the Algarve that’s a popular place to go for golfers. Areas such as the Azores and Madeira are also becoming popular choices too. Golf courses around Lisbon are also great places to go due to the proximity to the city. Wherever you go, you know you’re in for a good time, will be staying in some of the finest accommodation around and be playing on some of the best courses in the world, let alone Europe.

If you’re looking for relaxing, peaceful yet active holidays abroad, then you should definitely consider playing golf under the Portuguese sun. 

FAQs

What are active holidays?

Active holidays, or adventure travel, is a niche type of tourism, often involving travel that comes with a certain degree of risk, however, not always. 

Over the years active holidays have mutated from its original definition of  being a trip that may require special skills, and now caters to those wanting to try new experiences and gain new abilities and accomplishments. 

Today, an active holiday simply means a break in which holiday-makers can take part in different organised activities, with a particular focus on sports.

What are the best active holidays?

When it comes to pinpointing the best active holidays, it is hard to answer what is a very subjective question. 

Skiing had long been a favourite for adventure and sports related holidays, dating back to the 1800’s when it’s popularity led towards providing a market for the development of ski resorts and their related communities. 

However, since then we have seen a growth in golfing and rafting breaks, walking and hiking trips and swimming and cycling holidays - that’s just to name a few.

Ultimately, the best active holidays are the ones where you make the best memories, learn new skills and partake in exciting experiences you will never forget.

Are active holidays expensive?

Obviously, this depends solely on the type of activities you will be partaking in. 

You can almost customise the price of your holiday by choosing whether or not to sign up for assisted tours and supervised activities - as this aid usually does come with an extra cost.

However, it is important to note that we would encourage you to have the supervision of a licensed expert when it comes to participating in activities that caution a certain risk factor, especially if it is completely new to you. 

But overall, with the popularity in active holidays increasing and more companies forming to provide specialist support, it is likely that you can shop around for a great deal and bag yourself some cheap active holidays.

Before You Go!

And that concludes our list of the best places for active holidays in the UK and abroad. We truly do believe we have provided you with the best of the best, so now it’s just up to you to choose which one  best suits you and your preferences. 

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Written by Annie Williams

Fitness Content Executive, OriGym

Join Annie on Facebook at the OriGym Facebook Group

Graduating from Liverpool John Moores University with a BA (Hons) in Journalism, Annie specialises in mental and physical wellbeing, with a specific interest in nutrition and mindfulness. Her long standing interest in fitness is what brought her to OriGym, and led her to become a qualified Personal Trainer and obtain specialist qualifications in Advanced Sports Nutrition. Annie’s primary professional attraction lies in following and tracking the ever-changing trends in the fitness industry. Beyond OriGym, Annie divides her time between personal writing, her passion for the countryside and mountain walking, and charitable runs.

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